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    French President Emmanuel Macron, right, greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Sunday, Dec.10, 2017

    Netanyahu Calls on Palestinians to Agree Jerusalem is 'Israel's Capital'

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    Netanyahu has met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris in the wake of US President Donald Trump's controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on the Palestinians to agree that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state.

    "The sooner the Palestinians come to grips with this reality, the sooner we will move towards peace. This is why I think that [US] President [Donald] Trump’s announcement was so historic and so important for peace," Netanyahu said.

    "I offer to Mr. Abbas to sit and negotiate peace, nothing could be easier," Netanyahu has stated at a press conference following talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.

    In his turn, Macron has urged the Israeli prime minister to negotiate with the Palestinians in the wake of the controversial decision made by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Jewish state's capital.

    "I am convinced that the only solution complying with the international law is the concept of two states," the French president said, adding, "I urged the prime minister to show courage in his dealings with the Palestinians to get us out of the current dead-end."

    The French leader has condemned the protests against Netanyahu that had taken place in Paris on Saturday.

    According to Macron, there is a will for a US mediation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "we must wait and see what will be proposed."

    At the same time, freezing settlement construction will be an important gesture for the sake of peace from Israel, Macron noted.

    READ MORE: Turkey, France Plan to Make Trump Change His Decision on Jerusalem — Reports

    The Israeli settlement policy is among the key stumbling blocks for revival of the peace process between Israel and Palestine, which is seeking diplomatic recognition for its independence on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which are partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity and continues to build settlements in the occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations.

    France's Stance on US Recognizing Jerusalem Israel's Capital

    Netanyahu's visit comes in the wake of the recognition of Jerusalem as the official capital of the Jewish state by US President Donald Trump decision, described as "regrettable" by the French leader and condemned by all Arab countries.

    A number of European states, including France that is one of the countries that support two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have condemned Trump's decision and called on Washington to present detailed proposals for the Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement.

    French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFMTV that the US initiative "is at odds with international law."

    According to Saturday's report by Turkish NTV news channel citing sources, during Macron's phone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two leaders have agreed to try to convince US President Donald Trump to change his decision on Jerusalem.

    In 2014, the French National Assembly passed a resolution calling for "the recognition of the State of Palestine" but the government's recognition has not officially followed.

    The international community does not recognize the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem, a holy site for three religions, and believes its status should be determined based on an agreement with the Palestinians, who seek to create their own state with the capital in the Holy City.

    Tags:
    Benjamin Netanyahu, Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump, Palestine, Israel, France, Jerusalem
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